Kin Shop, chef Harold Dieterle and partner Alicia Nosenzo's follow-up to nearby Perilla, opened last week in the space formerly occupied by the short-lived Phillipe Chow Express. For this venture, Dieterle shifts his focus to Thailand, putting his own spin on the country's classic staples that he loves while also offering some original dishes influenced by their flavors. So what do people think of his foray into Asian cuisine? To the early word:
The Good News: The Skinny Pig is a big fan of the simple yet unconventional menu. "The menu isn't cluttered (unlike most Thai joints these days) and the dishes are a little out of the ordinary. Why not? New Yorkers get so bored these days anyway with 'normal.'" One such item on the menu, the steamed meatball soup, is an example of this different menu but it's a mixed bag. "Savory and tasty, with only one downside: a bit too salty. I have a salt-tooth and am not bothered by it really, but if I can notice it, you know it's salty." Also, she says to be careful with the red curry powder that sits in a little bowl on the table - "that stuff is no joke." The rest of the food sounds excellent. "The warm sliced snap peas with baby scallops was really good, as was the presentation - I liked the contrasting colors - a feast for the eyes, as they say. The scallops were cooked well and the sauce that accompanied it was mild and creamy; a nice compliment to the strong earthy flavor of the snap peas... The duck was good too and cooked really well." [The Skinny Pig]
The "Smooth Operator" News: Chowhounder streamwise visits shortly after the opening and has few complaints. "The pork/oyster salad was great...about the only criticism I could muster is that the oysters didn't stay crispy long enough. I also had the braised rabbit which was really nice too. They could kick up the spice levels a bit, but they also give you a little bowl of spicy pepper to help yourself, so it's really not an issue. Even though it was the second day, they were operating pretty smoothly, and it looks like it's going to be a great little place." [CH]
The Great News: Fellow Chowhounder uncledunkel makes sure there's not ambiguity, starting his review by saying he "loved it." While he agrees with streamwise that the oysters could have been crispier, everything else sounds like a win. "The other starter we had was the pork meatball soup. Very flavorful. The duck entree was amazing. Very succulent. Red snapper green curry was also good, but cold have used a little more sauce -- also the snapper was on the rare side, something to know if you aren't into that. The wide noodles with chicken sausage were good, but not as flavorful as the other dishes... And the ladies both enjoyed their phooket fizz drink" [CH]
The "What what!" News: First-time Yelper Thomas C. walked in without any expectations and walked out happy. "Having lived in California where Asian fusion was quite the rage, I was intrigued by the inventive menu. I ordered the Massaman Braised Goat curry and the lady went with the Roasted Duck Breast. The goat was great.. sweet coconut curry with a fall-off-the-bone tenderness, and not too spicy either. It worked really well with the purple yams. Kinda reminds me of Kalua pork. The Duck Breast came in chunks along with cut mint leaves, parsley, apples and pitas. These were to be made fajita style into your own little duck taco. It also came with a flaming spicy sauce which I only dabbed on. Perhaps because I've been accustomed to eating Chinatown duck, I wasn't used to eating pure chunks of medium rare duck. Succulent stuff. This could be the new pork belly bun killer." Sounds like the food was good and, look, a discount! "We had a great time here, and to top if off we got a %15 soft opening discount! What what! I'd definitely recommend, especially if you're tired of the same old Thai." [Yelp]
The "Did His Thing" News: Ryan, a commenter on the Zagat Buzz post on the restaurant chimes in with some compliments for the chef. "Went last night and it was fantastic! We sat right by the open kitchen and the smells alone were enough to make you want to come back. Harold did his thing, our service was great and the food was excellent."
The Twitterific News: Sommertime was excited to try the place out and she tweets afterwards her verdict. "Killer meal... Crab noodles, beef tartare, duck laab. Delicious. Get there folks!" TGadNYC tweets that he had "an awesome meal." [Twitter]